Saturday, February 21, 2009

Free Concert!

I was just over at YouTube marveling at the plethora of Mary McCaslin songs that has magically appeared lately, thank you garrufat. Anyway, I went to her site, and lo and beholds, there was a link to this concert! And so far, it's free...

Bramble & The Rose, mentioned in the text below, is just about my favorite album ever. I wore out two vinyl copies and thank god for CDs!

Let's see how well this works. You can play just the one song to start. I chose it 'specially for you.

Mary McCaslin - vocals, guitar
Jim Ringer - vocals, guitar

Mary McCaslin and Jim Ringer performed separately as folk artists on the same circuit for years. They had known each other since 1972, and became fast friends. Eventually Ringer, who was married with children, began performing as a duo with McCaslin. The year after this show was recorded he divorced, and they were married. He and McCaslin stayed together professionally and personally until 1989; three years later, Ringer (who had been in declining health from years of fast living) died at age 56.

This recording features the duo in their prime, when they were promoting songs that appeared on the album Bramble & The Rose in 1978. Tracks such as their interpretation of the Ray Charles composition “Hit The Road, Jack” and the country classic “(Ghost) Riders In The Sky” provide new arrangements that juxtaposed McCaslin’s sweet soprano against Ringer’s beefy baritone. This recording was done at the Bottom Line in New York City and was part of a two-night stand when they opened for the Roches.

The two performers had seen limited success on their own and eventually hooked up while on the Philo folk label. Philo marketed the duo as best they could but ran into financial problems shortly after the Bramble & The Rose album was released. As a result, McCaslin and Ringer never received the recognition they should have found in their prime.

McCaslin came from a supportive family life, which allowed for a balance against the hard-knock artistry of Jim Ringer, a drifter who had been jailed several times for getting into trouble with police over the years. While the two performers may have a very limited celebrity, they made great music for the time they worked together.

Getting in touch ...

With 'regular' Americans. Nice to see they have the same problems we do:


Only 25% to 30% of ex-Bush officials seeking full-time jobs have succeeded, estimated Eric Vautour, a Washington recruiter at Russell Reynolds Associates Inc. That "is much, much worse" than when Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton left the White House, he said. At least half those presidents' senior staffers landed employment within a month after the administration ended, Mr. Vautour recalled.


They all deserve to be living in under a bridge in a refrigerator box.

Great thanks to Mr. Mass Transit for the link.

Why men shouldn't write advice columns

Got this by e-mail from my old school pal Steve:

Dear Walter,

I hope you can help me here. The other day, I set off for work leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn't driven more than a mile down the road when the engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt. I walked back home to get my husband's help. When I got home I couldn't believe my eyes. He was in our bedroom with the neighbors' daughter. I'm 32, my husband is 34, and the neighbors' daughter is 22.

We have been married for ten years. When I confronted him, he broke down and admitted that they had been having an affair for the past six months. I told him to stop or I'd leave him. He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum he has become increasingly distant.

He won't go to counseling and I'm afraid I can't get through to him anymore.

Can you please help?




Dear Sheila:

A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine... Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it's clear, check the vacuum pipes and hoses on the intake manifold and also check all grounding wires. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the injectors.

I hope this helps,


Then again, maybe the engine just wasn't warmed up yet...

Saturday Crazy Tejano Music Blogging

Sort of "If you got the money, honey, I got the time" in Spanglish. My favorite line is

Bring all of your papers
I'll supply all the vapors...


Oh squeeze it Flacito

Thanks to dickTed.

Watch this space...

Special Representative Richard Holbrooke is back from Clusterfuckistan for a few days and appeared last night with Charlie Rose for 40 minutes. As soon as the video is up I will post it or link you to it.

There is no magic bullet for Afghanistan/Pakistan/Pushtunistan/Talibanistan, but Holbrooke is working his ass off, things are starting to happen to unfuck things up, thank you George, and you will learn some things you may not have known.

I am glad Holbrooke is our man on this. Stay tuned.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt
Thank you, GainControlAgain.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A grunt's-eye view of Afghanistan

Let's just say these Jarheads don't work for the State Dept. Heh. They make an interesting discovery at about 4:50.

Did I act like this in my day? You betcha! Some things never change...

Note: these guys talk like grunts. May not be work safe depending on where you work. OK for automotive and motorcycle shops.

Thanks, passivemode. I think.

Smoke This Recession

Mark Morford with today's 'must read'.

Translation: Money's tight, baby. City's in trouble. State's deep in the hole. Nation's broke.

Solution? Upend the system. Think differently. Get creative. Demolish Ye Olde Ways. And maybe get a really nice buzz on while you're at it.

Really now, could there be a better time to decriminalize/fully legalize pot? Or, more fully, to decriminalize pot, and then spread respectable pot shops and vending machines and dispensaries far and wide, instill quality control and decent oversight and then tax the living hell out of the glorious, stress-reducing goodness, as we stop wasting billions fighting its grand ubiquity and instead sink into profitable pools of warm, hazy progress? Don't you already know the answer?

It's difficult to imagine that some intrepid legislator hasn't already walked into Arnie "Pot is not a drug" Schwarzenegger's office and said, "Governator, now is the time. Light it up. Inhale the new reality. Pot is, by a huge margin, the single largest cash crop in the state unless you count porn stars and celebrity rehab. It rakes in upwards of $14 billion a year -- maybe a lot more than that -- and that's just from five clever hippies and a couple intrepid grandmas in Ukiah. Imagine what we could do if we went all-in."

Please, please, please read the rest!

Cheney and the Goat Devil


I was dubious about Will Ferrell doing his Bush impersonation one more time on Broadway.

As we lurch through the disasters bequeathed by W. — the economy tanking, 17,000 more troops going to Afghanistan, Chrysler pleading for a total of $9 billion — would audiences still laugh at Ferrell’s lovable fool of a president?

I was wrong. The audience for the Sunday matinee of “You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush” howled in delight.

In the show, the former president dismisses waterboarding as a spa treatment at Bliss, and reveals that he did walk in on Cheney once in the basement of the White House locked in the amorous arms of a giant goat devil in a room full of pentagrams.

“He looked at me with solid silver glowing orb-like eyes, and his breath had a strong ammonia scent to it,” Ferrell’s W. said. “And he told me in a language that I knew in my heart hadn’t been spoken in a thousand years ‘Pariff Go Lanerff!’ And I just ran.”

In my opinion, there is nothing even remotely likable or sympathetic about that son of a bitch Bush. If he had stood on his own two feet like a man just for a few minutes, all the destruction we are suffering today could have been avoided. But nooooo...that would be too much like work, and would not have benefited the neocons and his family's friends.

I'm glad Ferrell's show is going over well. I don't have much use for him either.

I hope Bush ends up as sloppy seconds for Cheney's goat devil.

Our Afghan War for Pipeline & Poppy Fields

This may be tinfoil hat shit. Then again, it may not. Whatever, it bears bringing up once in a while.

Professor Smartass, links to all his important points.

"There is only one thing in this world, and that is to keep acquiring money and more money, power and more power. All the rest is meaningless."

Napoleon Bonaparte

Instead, it is more likely we are in Afghanistan because someone thinks they can make a lot of money there, from the Trans Afghanistan Pipeline and so Wall Street can continue to collect the income from the Heroin poppies, just as the British did when they tried to force Afghan opium on the Chinese way back in the Opium War, and just as Bush was trying to force oil laws favorable to oil companies on Iraq, so they could collect up to 88% of the income from Iraq's tens of trillion of dollars worth of oil.

Energy companies courted the Taliban for a pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to take natural gas to India ended shortly before 9/11. In 2006, India was concerned about continuing the project until America gave assurances that we would protect the pipeline.

Plenty more.

I never put anything past capitalists and their politicians. Particularly the Bush family & friends.

Just when you think things can't get any more batshit crazy...


Uzbeks allow transit to Afghanistan

And by the way ...

29 years ago today, I raised my right hand and swore to "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

Off to work ...

North Dakota ...

Can we sell it to Canada? Would they want it?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

MonKKKey 'toon

Go see how the cartoon should have looked.

And this.

Thought of the day

Since last Friday, I have cleared my driveway of snow 6 days in a row. I am thinking of marrying my goddam driveway so I won't have to blow it anymore.

Also, everybody, and especially you mechanics, should go see Badtux's Bad Joke. Heh.

Suicide Is Painless

The Political Carnival on RNC Chairman Steele. References also to the M*A*S*H theme song. Heh.

If going beyond cutting-edge means political suicide, he's dead-on (no puns intended).

“We missed the mark in the past, which is why we are in the crapper now,” he said.

Who could resist a charm offensive like that?

Note to Chairman Steele: Save us all a lot of time and trouble, willya Tom? Spare us the bullshit and just reach up and flush the damn thing and get it over with.

The cartoon ...

You all know which one. All I'll say is they can make up any excuse they want, but I grew up in a time where black folks were regularly referred to as monkeys. This* sends only one message, the obvious one. No excuses will suffice.

*And no, I'm not posting, nor linking to, the damn thing. It's easy enough to find it on your own if you want.

Hey ...

We already had an actor in the White House.

But ...

America is a conservative nation! Waaahhhhhhh!!!!

Seems like the maiden voyage of Titanic was an unqualified success compared to the Republicans lately. Heh ...

Thanks to Athenae for the link.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I knew it was a mistake ...

To go down the road of giving the automakers money:

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Corp said on Tuesday it could need a total of up to $30 billion in U.S. government aid -- more than doubling its original aid -- and would run out of cash as soon as March without new federal funding.

The request for additional aid from the top U.S. automaker came in a restructuring plan GM submitted to U.S. officials on Tuesday.


That's just GM. How much is Chrysler gonna ask for? This is what I wrote last October:


Didn't we just hand the U.S. majors $25 bln last month [August 2008 - F.] so they "could modernize in order to be competitive"? Fuck them. Sorry you decent, hard working folks who work for GM, I feel for you, but enough is enough. GM and the other major U.S. auto houses have made one bad business decision after another since 1978 and I'm tired of bailing them out.


And what will Ford want down the line?

I'm sorry, but if they want more, the CEOs and boards of directors should resign. I don't give a fuck who runs 'em but the current crop of idiots have to go. A case can be made for bailing out the banks, but I draw the line at pouring money into a car company that builds crap (and has been for a long time) and whose management is so myopic that the Future comes up and bites them in the ass on a regular basis. It just ain't worth it.

Fuck them.

Great thanks to Oliver Willis for the link.

Harley-Davidson Tries to Rejuvenate Its Business

Good article in Time about how Harley-Davidson is trying to attract younger riders to boost flagging sales due to the economy.

Yer intrepid reporter on the H-D 'Splinter' board tracker

It's been a grueling few weeks for American companies, but particularly so for Harley-Davidson, purveyor of bikes that easily top $30,000. Last month, the company reported that its fourth-quarter global sales fell 13.1%. Last year, its profit sank nearly 30%. And it's been a wipeout for investors: Harley-Davidson's stock price has plunged nearly 70%, to $11.96 a share in mid-February, from $37.34 a share one year ago. Americans haven't lost reverence for Harley-Davidson. But a key problem is that people are simply less willing to spend money on luxury items: Overall motorbike sales fell 7.2% last year, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, an Irvine, Calif., trade group. (See pictures of the world's most expensive motorcycles.)

I have never thought of motorcycles as a 'luxury item', but then I've been a dyed-in-the-wool motorcyclist for over fifty years. Bikes are as necessary to my well-being as air. I own two Harley-Davidsons, the oldest is 77 years old, the newest, 26 years old. I would sell these first if I had to.

[...] But by the 1970s, motorcycling had become a marginalized sport. Its renaissance came in the late-1980s, driven largely by Baby Boomers' new affluence. Between 1992 and 2007, new bike sales soared from 278,000 to 1.1 million annually. Harley-Davidson rode much of that wave, chiefly with touring bikes like the brawny Ultra Classic Electra Glide (starting price: $35,499, with a "110" Screamin' Eagle Engine, and a 6-speed transmission). Its patrons grew older and wealthier, but its efforts to cultivate a large base of female and younger riders have been marginally successful.

Just as an aside, 'Screamin' Eagle' is Harley-Davidson's own line of Taiwan aftermarket performance parts. I call 'em 'Death From Above' parts because "Screaming Eagles" is the nickname of the 101st Airborne Division, whom the Vietnamese called 'rooster men' because they had never seen a bald eagle like the one on the shoulder patch. Heh. Fits the newer Harley-Davidson riders to a T.

"Marginally successful." Here's why: These sleds are too expensive for young folks with no houses to re-fi, and they're stodgy, even Sportsters, which were stone powerhouses when they were introduced fifty-two years ago. The kids want things unavailable from Harley-Davidson, such things as speed, razor-edge handling, space-age looks, and a price tag they can live with. 'Twas ever thus. Most old folks ride slow and want to look sharp and get an ego boost. Kids wanta slick their hair back and gas it! Generally speaking, the bikes from Japan do the trick.

Here's H-D's sales pitch:

"About six bucks a day. Cheaper than your smokes, a six pack, a lap dance, a bar tab, another tattoo, a parking ticket..."

So much for 'you meet the nicest people on a ...'! Back to the old tried and true! Do we still have enough juvenile delinquents to make a viable customer base? Heh.

I think the big appeal of Harley-Davidsons is their retro looks and outlaw image, all Made In America. Step right up and buy an outfit and you can be an instant old-fashioned outlaw patriot too. Visa, MasterCard, and cash-out re-fis accepted.

Don't get me wrong - a lot of older riders want a good turn of speed and handling. They have more money than the kids and turn to some truly fabulous bikes produced in Italy, Austria, Germany, and England. I'm sure that some younger riders are attracted to these as well, and probably go amazingly into hock to have one. As the old saying goes, "If ya keep spendin' money on food, clothes, and other non-essentials, ya ain't never gonna have a new bike."

I know enough about motorcycles that I'm not dazzled by them any more. Yes, of course there are machines I lust after, but to want a $10 or $20,000+ bike enough to actually buy one is probably not in the cards unless I hit the Lotto. Then, I'll need a bigger garage.

I wish Harley-Davidson well, but I'm not doing them much good. I don't give a shit what folks think I look like as I pass them on my bike, and I'm happier'n a pig in shit on my old-fashioned slow $3500 Made In India Royal Enfield, thank you very much.

Also see the evolution of Harley-Davidson in pictures.

The Alternate Brain crew prepares to go to D.C. and clean things up

Halfway there, we discover some weed, whites, wine, and chicks. The mission evolves...

Dear California ...

Answer me this. What was the point of recalling Gray Davis? Just asking.



You own it now ...

Ever since we've been pretty sure Barry would be our President, Gordon and I have been warning about getting too deeply involved in Afghanistan. And I hate to speak for my friend but I'm pretty sure, like me, he wants us out of there instead. Digby has a thoughtful post up today going over many of the arguments we've made over the past few months.


I hear a lot of people talking about how more troops are necessary because, until now, airstrikes have papered over the lack of boots on the ground and led to an uncomfortable increase in the civilian death toll, which is unsustainable. The first response to this is that 17,000 extra troops and personnel in a country the size of Texas isn't likely to change that, especially when the airstrike targets are often in inaccessible areas. The second is to look back at recent history. We "surged" in Iraq with an increase in forces and airstrikes surged, mainly to protect the new influx of boots on the ground, which American policymakers see as more precious resources than Afghans or Iraqis. It is not consistent to suggest that more troops=less airstrikes. That never happens. Escalation is escalation. [my em]


Though she left out an important one. The ability to resupply. You cannot keep up the tempo of operations if your troops ain't fed and they got no bullets or gasoline. It hasn't been a story here, but on CNN International (I wish we could get it in the States) I learned the Kyrgyzstan government is throwing us out of the base we have there. So now we're in negotiations with the Russians to use bases in Russia to stage in and out of. To an old Cold Warrior, this strikes me as unwise. Maybe I'm biased but experience tells me not to trust them with something this vital. At the least, they'll try to shake us down for every ruble they can. Why are we fretting about the Kyrgyz and Russian bases? Because our main supply line, through Pakistan, is vulnerable to attack and disruption.

So now we're putting more troops into a place where our supply line is tenuous. On one end, it's susceptible to destruction, on the other, we'll be wasting more money than we have to (for security and bribes), a lot more. Mr. Obama, take it from a couple old enlisted guys who've been around and who've learned the lessons of history. To quote Digby again, Aghanistan is:

... The Graveyard Of Empires

Once this new round of troops sets foot in the Hindu Kush, you own this war, Mr. Obama. Regardless of the neglect and contempt George Bush showed for it, anything that goes wrong over there now will be hung around your neck. I'm glad you're lowering expectations but you still own every casualty, every civilian and combat death from here on out. You'll be thinking about that as we make our exit in a similar fashion to the Soviets and the British.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday traveling music blogging ...

I've been everywhere:

My laptop. Click to make really big.

Johnny Cash - I've Been Everywhere

What, no Jesus?

Heh ... I love the French:

PARIS, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Authorities in France say a civil union designed a decade ago for gay couples has become increasingly popular with heterosexual couples.

Heterosexual men and women see the Civil Solidarity Pact as halfway between living together and marriage, The Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) reported Saturday.


Hey, some people don't want god in their lives. When the Mrs. and I got married, a rabbi officiated though it wasn't a sanctioned Hebrew ceremony because of ... well ... heh ... me. We had the rabbi for my mother-in-law's benefit. Next year, we'll be married 20 years and it's gonna be a shindig with us retaking our vows before the Master of an ocean liner at sea. Nobody's god is getting an invitation.

Great thanks to Shakes for the link.

Debugging ...

Creature gets it exactly right (in toto):

It's kind of refreshing that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner scrapped his first bank bailout plan and was willing to start from square one so late in the game. Better to suffer a bit of embarrassment now, then dig a deeper hole later.

I'd rather they realize the plan should be changed rather than using the George Bush method of charging on though failure is obvious and apparent. Yes, the roll-out was clumsy, at least they didn't throw hundreds of billions down a dry hole before they realized they fucked up.

Duty calls...

Gotta go out and rearrange mass quantities of snow. For the fourth day in a row. A healthy outdoor activity, as my muscles keep telling me. Hasn't been too bad, as I've not been letting the snow build up too much on the driveway and I can put My Machine in a high gear and let 'er rip. Also, The Berm Fairy has been quite wonderful. I finally found out exactly who he is and that he is best thanked by buying him some berm-removal fuel, aka Heinekens.

The rigs have quite a bit of snow on them, but we're getting a coupla days break from the storms so I'll clear them too. We haven't been anywhere since Thursday and I gotta get to the store for supplies. Hopefully the non-snow-drivin'-fuck traffic hazards skiers have gone home. I gotta chance it - Mrs. G is out of her cinnamon vanilla coffee creamer. Oh the horror!

Here's a coupla tips for you folks in snow country. Get one of these, made locally and proving that 'necessity is the mother of invention'. The amount of snow on the car in the picture is not unusual around here, and that device beats the shit out of a scraper/brush, which is really a finishing tool.

Then, after ya knock enough snow off the rig so you can see out of it, take it someplace besides yer own driveway to knock off the rest. Don't go too far. The inside of the car will warm up, and the first time ya hit the brakes, all the snow on the roof'll be on your hood and windshield, which besides dangerously obstructing your vision, makes ya look like an idiot. I just go about 100 feet to a wide spot in the road, and sometimes there's a queue! That way, the town plow can take care of it and I don't have to. They'll probably plow it right back into my driveway anyway. I'll detail the snow off the car in Safeway's parking lot.

Then I'll go to the Post Office and get mail, just to clear out my PO box. No matter how bad the roads have been, the bills and junk mail always get through.

See yas later.


I think my snowthrower has a mechanical malfunction. The Dog Poop Finder seems to be out of synch with the Automatic Wind Direction Changer. I actually blew some dog poop away from me...

Oval Newlywed Game

If you don't like MoDo, pass this by. Anything involving that Irish redhead and the words 'newlywed game' piques this dirty old man's interest! Alas, she's talking about the relationship between Obama and Biden, which, while interesting, made my pique, er, droop.

Admittedly, it must be an adjustment for the president, a detached observer who “travels light,” as friends put it, to be yoked to such a garrulous social animal.

It can’t be easy for someone with a highly defined superego to be bound to the wacky Biden id, for one so disciplined to be tied to one so undisciplined, for a man so coolly unsentimental to be paired with someone so exuberantly sentimental.

Mr. Biden’s stream of consciousness can be impolitic. Politico’s Glenn Thrush refers to “the human political polygraph that is Joseph Robinette Biden.” It can also be bracingly honest.

Obama advisers say that the two men get on well and that the president wants his second’s candid advice. Mr. Biden considers Mr. Obama inclusive.

But some aides joke about the care and feeding of Mr. Biden’s ego, and kid about the way the vice president clings to the president’s schedule. Mr. Biden puts out guidance about his schedule — a refreshing change from the black hole of Cheney.

There's more.

All the too-easy 'Odd Couple' references aside, those two guys are as different as night from day, and I like them both and think they are just what we need after emerging from Cheney's black hole (shudder) into some light.

Prosecuting Yoo

Michael Isikoff on "The Rachel Maddow Show"

Let's hope the new AG pursues this with a hard-on and locks these bastards up. Better yet, get 'em to roll on The Dick and Bush. Then lock them up.

Ahem ...

Blame watertiger for reminding me, but allow me to bitch for a moment.

1. Excuse me, Delta, and the rest of you, but fuck you, in the ass, with a stick. I paid $1.85 for regular gas yesterday; why are you still charging me a 'per bag' fee? What the fuck you think I'm gonna live out for two weeks, with formal engagements included? My wife's fucking pocketbook and my computer case? Fuck you again.

2. Once more, Delta, and the rest of you, but as I said in '1', gas is $1.85 a gallon. Why the fuck am I still paying an overweight charge for bags over 50 lbs? When I was younger I used to bring everything I own, needed a fucking forklift to pick it up. The fucking plane still flew. Again, what the fuck do you expect me to live out of for two weeks? My fucking duffel bag from the Air Force? "That will be $15 please, Mr. Fixer." Fuck you.

2a. And your gate agent at JFK can suck my hairy white ass for her attitude. Lecturing me for having two(!) overweight bags? If it'd been a guy they'd have been wiring up his jaw. Listen, we used points for the flights to Ft. Lauderdale and back, but it was like buying an extra fucking ticket for my suitcases. Seriously, fuck you.

3. To my fellow cruise passengers who think because they spent thousands of dollars on their cruise gives them the right to treat the people who serve them like shit. A big, hearty, fuck you with a telephone pole in the ass ... dry (yes, Gord, all the way). Goddamnit, you fucking people walking around like you're King Shit because you rented a tux and bought a new pair of shoes. Just because they don't speak English well, or are a different color than you are, doesn't mean you can abuse them. They are people, just like you and me, busting their asses to make a little money and make sure I have a good time. They come from impoverished countries (if you got to know them, you'd find they're not stupid and care about the same things we do), sometimes having to spend as much as a year away from their families (I've watched some of their children grow up through pictures over the years), all to make sure you have the best vacation ever. They put their pants on the same way you and I do. Suck my monkey ass, you cretins.

4. And while we're on the subject of cruise and airline passengers, fuck your kids. I like kids, I really do. I have nephews and nieces ranging in age from 6 to 30, all of whom I adore, but when they acted up their parents kept them in line. Your kids are not the greatest thing to walk the Earth and not everything they do is good, or smart, or cute. Turning them loose at the baggage claim to play WWE Wrestling as I'm pulling an overweight bag ("Are you buying a ticket for that, Mr. Fixer?") off the carousel. My back doesn't need me suddenly changing direction with 65 lbs. and your little savages don't need me dropping it on them. Turning them loose on the cruise ship elevators unsupervised is a dumbass idea too. Leaving them unattended on a cruise ship after turning them loose on the other passengers isn't a good idea either. Big ocean out there. Little Johnny is but a drop (on several levels). Discipline the little shits or they'll be swimming to Catalina.

5. See '1' and '2', you cheap motherfuckers. You're too cheap to pay the $25 for the second bag, let alone the $15 for the first so you jam everything you own in a 'carry-on' bag the size of a Fruehauf trailer. In addition to my computer bag and my wife's travel bag, which fit under the seat, we had another the size of a plastic grocery bag. You think I found enough space overhead to jam it? Fuck me, you people. If I donated all the shit you carry on to an aircraft, I'd get a tax deduction so big I wouldn't have to pay for 5 years. Fuck you, cough up the $40 or stay home. I gotta pay, you gotta pay, you cheap bastids.

And in general, I'm tired of seeing you people who think the world revolves around them. It doesn't and the better majority of us don't give a shit if you live or die, let alone care that the "pool boy" wouldn't hold your chair all day so just in case you want to get some sun, there would be a chair free for your botoxed, siliconed, old ass. Shut the fuck up and get out of my space.

Thanks for listening, ladies and gents. I'm better now.

Reality intrudes on the drug war

Following up on yesterday's post, here's more on the Latin American Commission Report on the failure of our War On Some Drugs in the ChiTownTrib:

In the story of the emperor with no clothes, it took someone whose observations are rarely heeded—a child—to point out the obvious fact that no one else could acknowledge. In the case of drug policy, it takes people who are usually ignored by Washington policymakers—Latin Americans—to perform the same invaluable service.

Last week, a commission made up of 17 members, from Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa to Sonia Picado, the Costa Rican who heads the Inter-American Institute on Human Rights, did nothing but admit the truth: The war on drugs is a failure.

The U.S. government has sent a lot of money south to eradicate fields of cannabis and coca. But this amounts to plowing the sea. Where there is demand, there will be supply.

The Latin American commission suggests using education and treatment to reduce the demand for illegal pleasure in consuming countries. But between the lines lurks a more important and radical idea, namely to treat recreational drug use (like drinking or smoking cigarettes) as a vice, not a crime.

"The enormous capacity of the narcotics trade for violence and corruption can only be effectively countered if its sources of income are substantially weakened," it argues. Unsaid is that the only way to drastically reduce the profitability of drug production and trafficking is to make them legal—as we did with liquor after Prohibition.

Most people, here or in Latin America, may not be ready for that remedy. But facing the truth about the drug war is a step toward salvation. If you want to change reality, it helps to abandon your fantasies.

The people in charge of the Drug War and the Prison Industry have no interest in reality, and to admit that their goals are pure fantasy would be admitting a mistake, which, like Bush, they simply are incapable of doing. They may even admit to themselves that what they are doing is totally wrong, but as long as the money keeps pouring in, they will keep on keepin' on and the hell with the harm they are doing.

Much more at the link.

Ya got nothin' ...

So, not to belabor a point, but I've been floating my way around the Caribbean the last two weeks with limited connection to the intarwebs. I did get the CNN feed aboard ship (the great thing about that is once we left U.S. waters, we got CNN International instead of the American version; wish we could get it here) and I had the distinct displeasure of seeing the Rethugs crying for the last 14 days.

I got to hear them whine about the lack of bipartisanship (maybe the Dems should have taken the tax cuts out of the bill when House Rethugs refused to vote for it), about how they "won" becuase they showed a unified front against the new President and the Dems (oh, the oppressed minority) and how Obama's presidency has "failed" less than a month into his tenure.

I got to see John "The Human Tan" Boner Boehner do a dead lift of the stimulus bill on the House Floor and Eric "Twelve year old girls whine less than I do" Cantor do his best Newt Gingrich impersonation. Thankfully, the ship had a nearly unlimited supply of alcohol for, if I had to listen to it sober, the TV would have been the start of an artificial reef somewhere east of Grand Bahama.

So, amongst all the bluster and outrage from Republicans, I tried to listen for something, anything, they put forth that is not a rehash of the same old shit they've been peddling for the last 8 years and longer. You know, the policies that got us into this mess to begin with. Just a scintilla of a new idea. Something.


Not a fucking thing but "the Dem plan is a disaster". Nothing more than the same old mantra: "tax cuts, especially for the rich". They whined and cried and stamped their feet, the Dems gave them a lollipop in the form of $300 bln in tax cuts (and also took out some public health initiatives out), and they still weren't happy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Republican Party has become an opposition party purely to oppose. They don't want what's best for the American people, they don't want to fix the economy, they don't want us to have affordable health care, and they don't want anything the President does to succeed. They will happily watch the American Republic go down in flames (we're smoldering and losing altitude now) as long as they get their way.

The Big Boner John Boehner was correct the other day (not that he meant to be, I'm sure) when he said "we don't want to be the 'Party of No'" and that's exactly right. They want to be the 'Party of Self'. They are like children who take their ball and go home. They are like the abusive guy who kills his wife when she finally gets up the strength to leave him because "if I can't have her, nobody can." You can understand the reaction of a child when he feels unwanted by his friends but the murdering husband is a criminal.

The Republicans aren't 10 years old and their actions are criminal. They have abused this nation in one form or another since '93 and, now that the American people won't take it anymore, they will destroy it. "If I can't have her, nobody can." It's disgusting and disgraceful and, judging from the polls, the American people are beginning to get it.

It's sad that it took financial catastrophe for the majority of us to notice but then we were never (as a people) quick on the uptake. What the Republicans don't realize (or refuse to see), it the public makes the connection now. We (collectively) understand now that it was Republican policy-making that got us into this mess. We understand, now, that continuing on the present course will undoubtedly end in a collision with an iceberg and they see the Republicans continue to demand just that.

The President's initiative passed without the Republicans' support and in spite of their opposition (the Collins, Snowe, Specter Triumvirate is an interesting side discussion and a politically savvy move on their part). He will sign it today in Denver (good political theater that). If the Republicans want to sign their death warrant, they will continue to oppose for opposition's sake. If they're smart, they'll change their tune soon enough. The signing of this bill today should be a flashing neon light for the Republicans to get with the program or wither away to nothing at worst, a shriveled, ineffective, vestigial organ of the American body politic at best. An appendix in the book of American history.

Let's hope this comes to pass quickly.

Off to work to see if I still remember how to fix cars ...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Quote of the Day


FUCK YOU, John McCain, you fucking hypocrite.

Yeah, I'm home. What a fucking surreal trip and to top it off, through our friends Annie and Joe (whom we travel with), I met up with a high school colleague I hadn't seen in 30 years (who is now a Homeland Security agent; at least two people from that piece-of-shit school made good. Most of the alumni hold reunions in Ossining.) last night in Ft. Lauderdale who has a German girlfriend who was born not far from where my people are. Small fucking world. We had a hell of a party at dinner last night with Annie and Joe along.

Shayna's home too and the family is back together. Home is good. I'll get some more pics up from the trip soon. Bandwidth sucked on the ship and I didn't look at any other blogs so I'm catching up tonight before I pass out (I did see that twit McCain on the tube with that other twit John King). Back in regular form tomorrow. Dropped my liver off at Betty Ford on the way home to have it wrung out and dried. Heh ...

Jesus H. Christ, Gord, how much fucking snow did you get? Shit, bro ...

This is what's goin' on around the 'hood today

This is the monster cutter the town sends around to make the road wider for the next storm. It's comin'...

Click der biti photos to embiggen. Stand back!

Here he is goin' past my driveway. My buddy Clancy's truck was right there a minute ago. Guess we'll find the pieces come Spring...

This little guy used to follow the elephants in the parade...

A Little Slide Canjo Pickin' If Ya Please, Maestro...

We got this from our ol' buddy Chief. I thought I was an old fart 'til he came along, thank the stars. Chief got his name from his Navy service, which I think started in the days of terms like 'fighting tops' and 'Arrrgh, mateys, there's buggery aboard'. Anyway he likes this kinda shit and so do I.

Thanks also to rpeek, who has a lotta time on his hands, seems like. Good hotrod stories too.

Three Marines, three paths

Good article in the LATimes

Reporting from Bala Balouk, Afghanistan -- The last in an occasional series on three high school friends from Southern California and their wartime enlistment in the Marine Corps.

Here's the last part:

Sitting outside a coffee shop in Santa Clarita the morning after he returned home, Crookston marveled at how placid and ordinary things seemed. The people around him likely knew nothing of the war, he said, and probably rarely thought about it.

They certainly wouldn't understand what it was like to plunge into combat and emerge unharmed, he said. He will never tell his family what happened in Afghanistan. "Not only do I not want them to hear about it, but I don't need to put that on them," he said.

He wears a bracelet inscribed with the name of a friend, Lance Cpl. Andrew F. Whitacre, 21, who was killed in action during one of Crookston's patrols. His battalion lost 20 men, and 150 more were wounded. Crookston knows he could easily have been one of them.

"We all knew what we were getting ourselves into," he said. "We knew this was going to happen."

He came home with a combat action ribbon. He's proud of it but keeps it tucked away; it gives him no pleasure to see it.

"Anyone you ask, it's the ribbon they hate the most," Crookston said, "because of what it cost to get it."

The bill for that cost has not fully emerged for the rest of us. It will, and we will be paying it for decades to come.

Lawyer: Rove won't take the Fifth if he testifies

Raw Story

Representatives of the Bush White House are no longer advising former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove that he is protected by executive privilege as regards testimony about the alleged political prosecution of an Alabama governor.

In an exchange with Raw Story, Rove’s Washington, D.C. attorney, Robert Luskin, also said Rove won’t invoke his Fifth Amendment right to protect himself from self-incrimination, if and when he testifies about the firing of nine US Attorneys and the prosecution of the former governor.

That said, Luskin refused to commit his client to testifying publicly or under oath.

In a letter to Turdblossom's mouthpiece, Rep, Conyers says:

In essence, given Mr. Roves's public statements that he does not intend to comply with the subpoena, I am puzzled as to why Mr. Rove needs a mutually convenient date to fail to appear.

Heh. In my heart of hearts, I want Rove to FTA. Try it in your local court and watch what happens.

If Conyers has any balls, in a coupla weeks we'll see Turdblossom as the star in a two-hour Dog The Bounty Hunter Special. Note to the Dog: turn ol' Beth loose on his ass. I just love watchin' her cleavage when she gets ta rockin' 'n rollin'!

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Report: Thousands of Untracked Weapons Sent to Afghan Security Forces
Some may have fallen into hands of Afghan security forces.

Obama Bumps Head Boarding Air Force One
Later, pardons Nixon.

??? - News Quiz - ???
The security firm Blackwater has changed its name. What is their new name?
A ) Mayhem, Carnage, Loot & Pillage, Ltd.
B ) Private Armies 'R' Us
C ) Murder, Inc.
Hint: who wants to know?

Correct answer: Xe. Yeah, that'll help. Yeesh.

With Prices Plunging, Chinese Buying Up U.S. Real Estate
Just as free market economists hoped.

Nobody Wants to Be Secretary of Commerce
Except Ralph Nader.

Try and have a nice day after that! Sorry...

Loose Lips Sink Fat Shits

Report Calls for End to Drug War, Obama Moves Toward Reform


The Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy issued a report today that marks a turning point in drug policy in the hemisphere. Following a year's work, the report concludes that the "war on drugs" is a failure and recommends a "paradigm shift" centered on public health, reducing consumption and focusing resources on organized crime.

It's well worth it to read the full statement of the commission, "Drugs and Democracy: Toward a Paradigm Shift." Here's a brief run-down.

Brief run-down ensues...

The Commission's message coming at this time reflects the hope that the Obama administration will have a more open attitude toward re-evaluating the failed policies.

That hope is not unfounded. It's true that the new administration had a well-publicized false starts on drug policy reform, but these seem to reflect more the built-in inertia of Washington than its own policies. Earlier this month, the U.S. delegation reportedly blocked harm reduction measures at the talks toward a new UN strategy in Vienna. Then, a series of DEA raids on medical marijuana providers in California raised questions about Obama's commitment to respect state laws on the matter.

Those fears have been somewhat allayed over the past few days. On the international front, Obama broke publicly from the "zero-tolerance" line of the Bush administration and announced support for needle exchange, although a spokesperons still called harm reduction "ambiguous".

At home, Obama received criticism for the contradiction between campaign promises and a reality that looked a lot like no change regarding federal government repression of medical marijuana. White House spokesperson Nick Shapiro stated that the raids would not continue.

Now the Seattle press is speculating that Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, will be appointed national drug czar. This would be another important sign of a changing tide. Kerlikowske worked in law enforcement in Washington state, a state that permits medical marijuana use and in Seattle, a city that approved a measure to give marijuana "lowest enforcement priority". Drug policy reform groups have celebrated his probable nomination.

I got a sneakin' hunch the Repug reaction to the commission's report will be something along the lines of "What do a buncha beaners know anyway?"

I think President Obama is going to have a tough row to hoe if he goes against the failed War On Some Drugs. There are a lot of people making out like bandits on our wasted money because of it, and they have a powerful lobby to keep it going and to hell with the peasants whose lives are being unnecessarily ruined by it. I sure hope he tries.

The Party Of No

{Rachel Maddow} GOP In Exile: The Party Of No w/Alexandra Pelosi

Also an article at Yahoo!News with comments:

Imagine going to work each day and hearing people call your mother a Nazi.

Nazi Pelosi.

Alexandra Pelosi, the filmmaker daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, heard it frequently last fall in speeches meant to fire up the crowds at McCain-Palin campaign rallies.

She attended many such events to make a film about the people who attended, those who fought against a Barack Obama presidency. "Right America, Feeling Wronged," debuts Monday at 8 p.m. EST on HBO.

"I didn't know how nasty it was going to get," she said. "If I knew, I don't know if I would have signed up for it."

Pelosi also films a truck driver who uses a racial slur against Obama. One man wears a misspelled T-shirt, "Say No to Socilism," and fumbles when Pelosi asks him to define socialism. One man says he looks at Obama and, "I see 666 in his eyeballs." Others wrongly believe Obama is a Muslim, or chant "Obama is Osama."

The film's chief value lies in illustrating the moment of time. It's one thing to assume that racism or ignorance is still alive and played a role in how some people voted, quite another to see how Pelosi found it and stuck a camera in its face. [...]

"I would imagine that a lot of Republicans are going to be skeptical and concerned that a documentary like this portrays them as everything that they fear the media wants to believe — that they're racist rednecks who are uneducated," said Karen Hanretty, a GOP activist and former spokeswoman for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.

Gee, ya think?

At one point in the film, Pelosi catches Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity signing autographs at a rally. Hannity points her out and says "that's Nancy Pelosi's daughter." The crowd begins to boo.

"You're going to get me lynched!" Pelosi said.

So they feel 'wronged', do they? Boo-fuckin'-Hoo and tough shit. They've been wronging this whole country at least from civil rights days when today's Repugs were Democrats, and really got with the program under Reagan and since. They're ignorant, reactionary, racist morons, and they've been used to good effect by the Money & Power Wing to the detriment off all Americans including themselves, but they're too stupid to see that.

I guess I'm glad Ms. Pelosi tried to show the sympathetic side of the average Repug in the street. Too bad there isn't one.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Delaney and Bonnie with Eric Clapton 1969

Need I say more? Didn't think so. Good. Don't know any more than that.

Sunday Crazy Svenska Redneck Music Blogging, O Yah!

Annica and The Countryneers won the category Pure Country in CountrySM 2008. Högfjällshotellet Sälen Sweden.

Country SM? Annica, call me. I'll come over and do some of whatever the Swedish version of that is with ya. I hope it don't involve female siblings (unless they're Annica's!), barbed wire, and cow pies like it does here. Once I've got ya in a good mood I'll 'splain why you Scandahoovians need to lose the slave flag.

This band only joined YouTube about yesterday. I'm all over 'em like a cheap suit! They list Dwight Yoakam as one of their influences. They play this tune a little like it but I wonder if they've ever even heard of Bakersfield.

Annica & The Countryneers ~ Playing Every Honky Tonk* In Town

*Must be the Swedish spelling. I usually spell it 'honkytonk'.

They Sure Showed That Obama

Daddy Frank with today's 'must read'.

AM I crazy, or wasn’t the Obama presidency pronounced dead just days ago? Obama had “all but lost control of the agenda in Washington,” declared Newsweek on Feb. 4 as it wondered whether he might even get a stimulus package through Congress. “Obama Losing Stimulus Message War” was the headline at Politico a day later. At the mostly liberal MSNBC, the morning host, Joe Scarborough, started preparing the final rites. Obama couldn’t possibly eke out a victory because the stimulus package was “a steaming pile of garbage.”

But we do know this much. Just as in the presidential campaign, Obama has once again outwitted the punditocracy and the opposition. The same crowd that said he was a wimpy hope-monger who could never beat Hillary or get white votes was played for fools again.

At least some media hands are chagrined. After the stimulus prevailed, Scarborough speculated on MSNBC that “perhaps we’ve overanalyzed it, we don’t know what we’re talking about.” But the Republicans are busy high-fiving themselves and celebrating “victory.” Even in defeat, they are still echoing the 24/7 cable mantra about the stimulus’s unpopularity. This self-congratulatory mood is summed up by a Wall Street Journal columnist who wrote that “the House Republicans’ zero votes for the Obama presidency’s stimulus ‘package’ is looking like the luckiest thing to happen to the G.O.P.’s political fortunes since Ronald Reagan switched parties.” There hasn’t been this much delusional giddiness in these ranks since Monica Lewinsky promised a surefire Republican sweep in the 1998 midterms (my em).

Don't talk with yer mouth full...

This G.O.P., a largely white Southern male party with talking points instead of ideas and talking heads instead of leaders, is not unlike those “zombie banks” that we’re being asked to bail out. It is in too much denial to acknowledge its own insolvency and toxic assets. Given the mess the country is in, it would be helpful to have an adult opposition that could pull its weight, but that’s not the hand America has been dealt.

The Repugs are a like a deck of jokers. The King of Spades wins, you should pardon the pun.

Republicans will also be judged by the voters. If they want to obstruct and filibuster while the economy is in free fall, the president should call their bluff and let them go at it.

The G.O.P. is so insistent that the New Deal was a mirage it may well have convinced itself that its own sorry record back then didn’t happen either.

Screw back then. Their own sorry record now is what matters.

Obama's 'Drug Czar' pick may be a good one

If you feel as I do that the 'War On Some Drugs' is a failure and a colossal waste of money and people's lives, you'll want to read this. Here are the first and last two paragraphs.

The Stranger

Obama choosing Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske to become the next drug czar in Washington, D.C., at first, looks like the same old beltway logic: cops and prison terms are the snake-oil cure for drug addictions. Some change, Obama. Right?

And nationally, Kerlikowske could be a drug czar who pushes to lift the federal ban on funding needle exchange, stops the medical pot raids in California, overhauls our nonsensical anti-drug commercials, and enthusiastically seeks funding for drug-treatment programs.

The brilliance of Obama’s pick for drug czar is not just finding someone who is open to new strategies, but someone who nonetheless holds undeniable qualifications as a cop. Nobody can claim Kerlikowske is a public-health nut who doesn’t know the impact of drugs on the streets. Like many Americans, he agrees that drugs should be illegal. But he understands the place for low priorities and public health—and he's willing to step back where enforcement alone has failed.

I haven't heard of this man up 'til now, but on the face of it and the strength of this one piece, he sounds pretty good. Like maybe he's got a brain. We'll see.